Critical Infrastructure Protection

Security threats to U.S. critical infrastructure span the digital divide. Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure are becoming more strategic and targeted.

INL is addressing the critical and complex long-term challenges for key overlapping sectors of the energy system (power grid, oil and gas, nuclear, transportation), defense critical infrastructure and mission platforms, and the common embedded systems in all physical processes and infrastructures.

National and Homeland Security has formed strategic partnerships to address the difficult long-term challenges associated with protecting key overlapping sectors of the energy system (nuclear, power grid, oil and gas, transportation), defense platforms and common embedded systems employed across physical processes and infrastructures.

Capabilities range from wireless communications, power and controls to a substantial foundation for partners to strategically realign their control systems cybersecurity posture. INL’s expansive and unique test site can replicate a region or municipality. The lab operates and maintains full-scale infrastructure, including an isolated power grid, and water and telecommunication distribution systems for research. Using this existing setup and the lab’s system expertise for government, industry and university partners can utilize the industry-scale infrastructure to perform research and development for critical infrastructure protection.

Control Systems Capabilities

  • All-source technical analysis of cybersecurity threats to control systems
  • Secured lab spaces to accommodate project-specific work
  • Wireless R&D and testing for spectrum sharing, 4G/LTE industry-scale testing
  • Malware and forensics R&D of embedded systems analysis and reverse engineering
  • Incident response methodology for deploying teams of cybersecurity experts
  • Training to support workforce development programs
  • Power grid effects modeling, testing and validation
  • Assessments for asset owners, vendor devices and infrastructure systems
  • Infrastructure resilience and interdependency analysis for control systems, situational awareness and visualization R&D
  • Nuclear-cyber support for international training and R&D


Cybercore Integration Center

The U.S. is vulnerable to a cyberattack against the critical infrastructure providing electrical power, clean water and other vital services to ensure our national security, lifeline services and economic prosperity. Industrial control systems (ICS) serves as the command center for these vital assets.

Idaho National Laboratory invested in the Cybercore Integration Center to enable partnerships across federal agencies, private industry and university partners to secure control systems from cyberthreats.

Cyber, Controls and Wireless Communications 

INL is focused on the “nexus” of cyber, controls and wireless communications, and our differentiating science-based, full-scale assets uniquely position INL to lead technology and solution development to secure industrial control systems.

Grid Security and Resilience

Resilience has emerged in the national dialogue; the concept centers on the notion of a complex system being able to recover and continue operating through disruptive, man-made or natural events. INL research leads the “security by design” effort to incorporate resilience into critical control system components.

Nuclear Cyber Security

Worldwide critical infrastructure, including nuclear, is vulnerable to targeted cyber exploits and intrusion, which threaten national security, the economy and in some cases citizen safety. Nuclear materials and facilities are inextricably linked to the cybersecurity of the nuclear command and control environment.

Regional Resilience

Given the increasing interconnections and interdependencies of systems — such as communications, power distribution and transportation infrastructure — it is essential that government agencies and industry recognize potential vulnerabilities and mitigations to protect critical infrastructure.